These Ancient Eyes: Royal Run Around

Monday, August 27, 2012

Education is an absolutely wonderful thing. Don’t get me wrong – I believe everyone needs to continue their education long beyond the end of High School. I also believe you don’t really have a choice – if you don’t learn from life alone, you aren’t LIVING life. However, colleges, while absolutely wonderful institutions of higher learning, are a bit wrapped up in red tape and hoops. Here’s the fun issue I’ve been dealing with the last few weeks and why I’ve been so quiet lately.

I’m two classes away from my Anthropology AA, according to the RSCCD (Rancho Santiago Community College District) standards. Those classes are Anthropology 103: Archaeology, and Anthropology 104: Language & Culture. If I could, I’d take them both, in one Semester, and be done. Here’s the issue – in the last 3 years, the colleges haven’t OFFERED these two classes. Due to financial aid rules, I can’t attend any more classes except the ones required for my degree, and still get financial aid. And I need the financial aid in order to afford the books for the classes, therefore I haven’t been able to attend any classes for the last two semesters. This isn’t a problem except for the fact that they marked me as a “non-attending/abandoned student”, even though I was in contact with my advisor more than once throughout the last few semesters. Therefore I was unable to register for the class this semester when it was finally offered. I had to reapply to the college system, wait for that approval. By the time they let me back into the system, the class was full. There was no waitlist. So I figured, fine. I’m not letting them stop me. I’ll leap through this hoop, and go in on the first day of class and talk to the teacher and petition to enter the class.

This morning was the very first class. I got up early, and Lona drove me up there so I could talk to the teacher before everything started. We got there an hour before the class started, and I went to find the classroom. I was shocked to find it full of people. I managed to get to the teacher, and was told that roll had already been taken and all 45 people who’d signed up for the class were present, and as I knew, there was no waitlist. I explained to the teacher my situation, and after some thought, I was sent to Admissions to ask if they had any suggestions, because there was no way the teacher could allow me into the class. Apologetic or not, it still meant I had no class.

I went to admissions. What it comes down to is that because the inability for me to get into the class on time was their fault, and that the school hasn’t offered the classes in so long, I have a chance to petition or challenge the school to just GIVE me my A.A., without actually taking those last two classes. The catch? I have to wait until next semester to do it because in order for the challenge to go through, the school can’t currently be offering the classes I need. If they ARE offering, I have a chance to get in again.

Another catch? This is all assuming I still live here by next semester. See, Lona and I have finally decided on an area. We’re moving up to Washington, the Seattle area to be specific. So when I got home today, I emailed the South Seattle Community College to see what they could do to help me if we move up there before the next semester (that’s more of a when than an if at this point, though). I got a response that they were very encouraging. It looked like, according to my unofficial transcript, I’ve already satisfied their requirements for an A.S. of Anthropology. She couldn’t tell me anything officially without me applying to and being accepted to the college and providing them with an OFFICIAL transcript from RSCCD, but what it looks like is that we move up there, I apply, I get accepted, they take my transcript, and I get a letter in a month that says “Hey, you’ve already fulfilled our requirements for an Associate’s degree.” Basically, I’ll end up graduating from a college that I never actually physically attended. So while this is an amusing outcome, the hoops I’ve had to jump through to get to this precipice are very frustrating – and I still have to jump off the ledge and hope I can fly.

So that’s why I’ve been so quiet lately, and now you know what’s going on in my school life. 😛 Yes. Hoop jumping abounds. So I maintain, college and education are wonderful things. But sometimes I just get really tired of this royal run around.